We see it all the time on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit (oh boy, do we see it on Reddit):
"She's not even a fan of comic books."
"Six months ago, nobody even knew who Deadpool was."
"I bet you can't even name one character from the Expanded Universe."
The accusation of jumping on the bandwagon, or being a "fake," fan/nerd/geek has become the go-to insult for any millennial who has reached the end of his/her rope while scrolling up and down their timeline.
Isn't it ironic that something like bandwagoning, that for our parents was primarily reserved for conversations about sports or politics, has fully infiltrated our culture of comic books, science-fiction, and art? When did we stop wanting to include others in on our hobbies and passions? Why do we berate, insult, and even threaten members of the community who are seen as lesser or more casual enthusiasts? What does anybody else's opinion of something have to do with the integrity or the legitimacy of nerd/geek culture?
Not a damn thing. That's what.
Bandwagon fans do exist.
There is no question about it. Some people just don't really dive that deep into anything that they become interested in. Some fans don't know the difference between the different incarnations of the Green Lantern and some girls think that the Spidey symbol looks cute on the front of their thong. Get over it.
There are also plenty of girls who know more about DC universe than entire theaters full of dudes who will line up to see Batman vs. Superman this spring. There are guys I know who have an interest in superhero movies and games but simply don't have the time to devote to learning all that there is to know about them. They have jobs, they have kids, and they have fulfilling lives to live outside of the worlds of Gotham and Metropolis. That doesn't make them any better or worse than you or I, it makes them different.
Don't misunderstand me...
If you're the type of bandwagon fan who petitions for a PG-13 version of the new Deadpool film? I hate you.
If you're the type of guy who tries to belittle others with the little bit of comic book knowledge you learned from reading the Marvel wiki on your lunch break? I hate you. A lot.
If you're the girl/guy who pretends to go to a movie premiere or show interest in the hobbies or interests of your significant other just to get likes on Instagram, yet doesn't even show up when you promised to? You're awful.
But this article isn't about you. This article is about the average fan who might have just discovered the new interest they have. Maybe you never were exposed to nerd or geek culture until now. Maybe, you found a person in your life who introduced you to the wonderful world of Spiderman, Star Wars, and Doctor Who.
Either way, keep on keeping on. I'll be here to support you...unless you mess with my mint-condition Power of the Force figures.